How to remove a tattoo

Removing a tattoo requires dedication, time and due diligence on the clients part. There are limited options for tattoo removal. Here at Maine Laser Clinic we support and promote laser tattoo removal. The procedure is relatively fast and simple to perform, however. The body requires time to achieve the most important aspect of the process and that’s to flush the ink out of the dermis and slowly fade.

How is this done? The lymphatic system does most of the work. There are tiny macrophages that digest the broken ink particles and dispose of them naturally. How does the laser break up the ink? The light-energy (laser) targets the color super-heating the ink until it shatters. This all happens in milliseconds and even nanoseconds. Think of a glass hitting the floor, shards fly everywhere. Now imagine someone bending down and taking a hammer to the remaining pieces – you are left with thousands upon thousands of tiny fragments. The same principle applies to tattoo removal.

The laser shatters the ink and the body disposes of the remaining ink particles. People often wonder if the process is painful. In short, the answer depends on their tolerance to stimulus. The “pain” associated with laser tattoo removal stems from the byproduct of “heat” – causing collateral warming that influences nerve endings. For example, when a young child puts their hand close to a hot stove sensors send signals to the brain alerting the child to react, consequently pulling away and hopefully avoiding severe burning.

There are ways to manage discomfort by cooling the area with local anesthesia, or topical creams and even cooling machines like the Cryo by Zimmer. We’ve found the most effective method (without injecting patients) is to ice the area prior to treatment. It’s simple and it works.

People often reference buying creams to remove their tattoos. Caveat emptor! There are products on the market that use misleading marketing tactics. The only true way to remove a tattoo is excision or the use of a laser. If you’re like most people, having a large scar from excision is worse than the actual tattoo. Do your research. Know what to expect and ask others who have had similar procedures.

People have to be ready to answer one question, “how bad do I want this tattoo removed?” If you conclude you need it gone, then we highly recommend laser tattoo removal.

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Dr. Amato Polselli